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Town Council Minutes 02/28/2017

South Berwick
Town Council Meeting
February 28, 2017

The Town Manager reported the following to the Clerk:

Chairman Russell H. Abell called the meeting to order at 6:05pm.  Councilors present included John C. Kareckas, John James, Laura Leber, and Thomas Chase.  Town Manager Perry A. Ellsworth was also in attendance.

Executive Session

On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to enter executive session at 6:06pm, pursuant to 1MRSA §405.6C, to discuss a real estate/economic development issue.

On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, second by Mr. James, it was unanimously voted to end the executive session at 6:22pm.

The regular session began at 6:32pm with the Clerk present.

Approval of Minutes

1. Council 02-14-17:  On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to adopt the minutes as written.

Treasurer’s Warrant

1. On a motion by Mr. Kareckas, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to sign the warrant dated February 23, 2017 in the amount of $123,519.21.

Reports & Presentations

1. Audit:  Peter Hall of Smith & Associates, CPA’s gave the Council an overview of the Financial Audit Report for fiscal year end June 30, 2016.  After briefly explaining the process he stated that the Town had received a Clean Audit Opinion.  There were no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies reported.  Recommendations were made to continue close oversight by the Town Manager, review and update policies, and use of fund balance & encumbrance accounting (change software to TRIO).

Public Comment

1. George Gorman, speaking on behalf of the Fire Department, commented that statements made at the last meeting were concerning to the firefighters.  The Fire Department did respond to 58 medical assists (to aid the ambulance service) last year, 20 to the same address.  Chief Gorman stated that the “guys are getting gun shy” because of the lack of (liability) insurance coverage.  Not all firefighters are trained as 1st responders, but are often the first ones on scene.  “We need insurance to cover us.”

Mr. James questioned ‘how we got to this point without liability insurance’.

Mr. Ellsworth stated that he is working on the issue, and George is aware of that.  A meeting has been scheduled for next week with MMA, the State EMS and others to help resolve the problem.  A simply name change to the South Berwick Fire and Rescue may be all that is needed.  An interim fix was to have our firefighters sign up to be paid workers for York Ambulance because the contract we have says that they will supply the labor.  Chief Gorman stated that at this time only 2 people have signed up.

2. Mike Edwards, Tamarack Dr., stated that he wants to help the residents but has no desire to drive or work on an ambulance.  He is unsure if he can help.

3. Rick Chute, York Woods Rd., commented that everyone on the department wants to help.  They don’t do it for the money.  He added that there is a lot of knowledge on the Fire Department.

4. Mike McShane, Main St, stated he was speaking as a taxpayer, he is concerned that we are even having this conversation.  It’s not just fires anymore, it’s hazard mitigation.  We have to look at current industry standards and update job descriptions.  Mr. McShane then asked “what is the Town’s plan for public safety?”

Mr. Kareckas stated that public safety is priority number 1.  

TC 02-28-17

The issue is trying to address the insurance situation.  Mr. Kareckas also stated that he was concerned that it is being handled in a political fashion rather than administratively.  “It’s not us and them, it’s a we thing.”

Town Manager’s Report

-Mr. Ellsworth stated that the issue will be resolved.  The goal will be to get together next week.  He then stated that ‘we will respond to ambulance calls and one way or another we’ll get covered.
-The budget will be available next week, along with the schedule.  The first workshop is planned for March 9th.  He suggested holding the second workshop after a short Council meeting on March 14th.  The initial numbers look good.  We will be under LD1.  Things will look a little different because some items are being moved to more appropriate accounts, i.e. a portion of the Deputy Town Clerk’s hours will be moved from the Control Collection budget to the Town Clerk’s Budget.
-Made note that the person for the executive session was here at 6:15pm, thought it was at 6:30pm.
-Route 4 locale for Police Station:  Had a conference call with a rep from the Governor’s office, David Ledew of Taxation and the Berwick Town Manager to discuss the property tax issue:
 If we build in Berwick, we pay taxes like any property owner
 If Berwick bought the land and we consolidate with them, we might not have to pay taxes
 If we purchase jointly with Berwick, we might have to pay taxes
 If the two towns consolidate into a single ‘safety unit’, we probably wouldn’t have to pay taxes.
  If Berwick TIF’s the district we could get all of the taxes back for the first 20 years, then we would pay taxes.
-Haven’t met with Mr. Bateman yet, the budget has taken priority.

Mr. James commented that we need to look at purchasing property in South Berwick.
Mr. Kareckas commented that there will be site development costs no matter where we choose.

-Mr. Ellsworth, Mr. Kareckas, and Deanna Remick attended the MMA Marijuana Legalization Outreach Seminar on Issues & Questions for Municipalities earlier in the day.  Mr. Kareckas read a summary of the items discussed.   Mr. Kareckas recommend a policy memorandum so that staff and committees will have a mission statement in regard to handling any applications during the State imposed moratorium.  See attachment A.
-Signed a five-year contract with Oceanside Rubbish.  We will be saving about $16,000/yr.

New Business

1. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to grant a Solid Waste Hauler License to Troiano Waste Services to expire March 31, 2018.

2. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mrs. Leber, it was unanimously voted to grant a Solid Waste Hauler License to Shipyard Waste Solutions, LLC to expire March 31, 2018.

3. On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to grant a Solid Waste Hauler License to Oceanside Rubbish, Inc. to expire March 31, 2018.

Councilor Comments

1. Mr. Kareckas:
-Congratulated the Marshwood Hawks Wrestling Team for winning the Class A State Championship.  They also had three individual State Champions.

2. Mrs. Leber:
-Made note that note only does the wrestling team excel in the sport, but they win sportsmanship awards as well.

3. Mr. Abell:
-Made note of the annual VFW spaghetti supper fund raiser on March 18th.


On a motion by Mr. James, seconded by Mr. Chase, it was unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 8:07pm.


Barbara Bennett, CCM

02282017_Attachment A.pdf